If there is one thing that has universal value in today's world is the ability to have access to “experts”. The word “expert” on its own is not a descriptor I tend to place much value on – the negative connotation is attached of someone who feels they have nothing left to learn and consider themselves the definitive authority on a subject area. Of course, there are some experts out there, but we all know who they are. David Suzuki does not have to introduce himself as an expert – it is a title that is earned rather than self-imposed. From a ME.Brand perspective, you also have a value proposition that you bring – a unique set of skills, competencies and experience that enable you to do what you do best. The fact is however, that there are a lot of smart people out there and unless you find yourself in the enviable (and equally unlikely) position of being the sole authority in a niche area, what you need to do is figure out how to make a lasting impression with those you meet, engage and work with. One great place to start is with making that important first impression memorable.
If you study the research related to how long it takes for the human brain to form initial baseline opinions on individuals, you might be surprised to find out that it can take as little as 1/10th of a second for an initial judgement to take place. Think about when you first meet someone – or happen to be walking outside and see someone approaching you. We base our initial impressions based on our sensory perceptions – the subsequent verbal engagement or dialogue will then either support or potentially alter that impression. You will find many references to the supposition that most of us form our most lasting opinions within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone. In Seth Godin's Purple Cow, the marketing demigod explains “the key to success is to find a way to stand out–to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins.“
So IT Professional, how do you aspire to be the metaphorical Purple Cow? I may not be able to answer the question for you, but I am happy to offer an example of a technique and artifact I have used – you know it as the Business Card. The circumstances of “sitting on the bench” these last few months have allowed me the luxury of engaging in a pastime I take great enjoyment in – that is reading, and one area that fascinates me is Cognitive Psychology and specifically how some memories seem to stay with us and become part of our long-term memory. Often these memories most remembered are highly sensory in origin – think about the strongest memories in your life and you'll probably associate something you smelled, touched or saw above something you simply heard or read. So what's my secret sauce? Well it isn't that secret and doesn't even require batteries. Let me do the honours of introducing my ME.Brand Business Card.
What Does Your Business Card Say About YOU?
(Note: Shown is both Front (pic) & Back side of a 2.75″ x 1.10″card)
Yes, depicted above is a sample of one of my personal business cards – no company name, no titles – just a representation of my ME.Brand and meant to compliment my verbal pitch in a way that provides both a visual and tactile experience for my audience. So what does my business card say about me? Well, other than the fact that in this set of cards I am in need of a working razor, I have consistently received positive and unsolicited feedback on how unique and bold this (two sided) card is. Words that have been used to describe the card and impression it had include in no specific order: confidence, engaging, innovative, out-of-the box thinker, results focused, leadership.
The cards, and I have a few versions (and if you are wondering, yes sadly it's always my mug on one side – sorry, it is what it is) are samples of the MOO MiniCard which not only looks spectacular (my picture notwithstanding) but also feels great, weighing in at a hefty 16pt 350gsm. Of course, this is just a business card, and at the end of the day, what you say, how you say it and how you go about demonstrating your ME.Brand and value day in and day out is what truly matters. In this attention economy and society we find ourself in however, figuring out how you distinguish yourself from the pack is key to ensure you not only get noticed, but are remembered beyond the event of this encounter and thus that much more likely to successfully grow and sustain relationships over the long-term. There are a lot of things that you need to do to make that happen of course, but starting off with a business card that is representative more of your ME.Brand and less of your job title and place of work is a better place to start that journey from. I've also included a promotional video from the folks at MOO.COM (who by the way I have no affiliation or connection with – I simply think they produce great quality, innovative cards at a reasonable price point – if you agree or have other vendors to tout, leave a comment and let us all know!)
Have a great rest of week and please keep the emails and comments (where are the comments?) coming – share your ME.Brand journey experiences with the rest of the Making IT Work! community and remember to learn and grow….every day! Thanks for stopping by…